Haute Secrets: Modeling World Maven Leila Antakly

Hailing from New York City, Leila Antakly holds a Master’s degree in Luxury Goods Management from Bocconi University, Milan. She began her career in fashion producing photo shoots for Vogue Italia in New York, where she had the opportunity to work with the world’s most famed fashion photographers, stylists, designers and models. Antakly later went on to produce documentary films, and started a popular blog, ninunina.com .

Ever the world-traveler, Leila moved to Dubai three years ago and runs Wilhelmina Dubai the first international agency in the region, where her goal was to improve the standards of the industry and provide only the best talent.

She is most passionate about photography, adventures, yoga, exploring new places and her pooch Mr. Coco.

Leila Antakly


Where were you born? I was born in Washington D.C. to a Syrian Father/ Colombian Mother. Spent most of my life in New York City though.

How long have you lived in your region? In Dubai 3 years

Neighborhood: Downtown

Occupation: General Manager of Wilhelmina Dubai- the first international agency in the region, Founder of Ninu Nina -an online platform for creatives.

Favorite Restaurant: in Dubai depends on my mood but either Jean Georges, LPM or Loca. Otherwise in New York my favorite is always Bar Pitti.

Best Sushi: Zuma

Best Italian: Unfortunately haven’t found one I love yet, but Margarita on SZR is good.

Best Dessert: the “Hit Me” cake at Catch. Yummy

Best place for a romantic date: If I tell you it won’t be romantic anymore.

Best Sunday Brunch: Buvette in the West Village in New York. In Dubai Baker & Spice.

Best place for a power business meeting: I like the terrace at Roberto’s in the DIFC or Intersect by Lexus.

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? Conrad Hotel or Sofitel Downtown.

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: I love West L.A. in Sunset Mall, Boho Beach at The Mall, Kidette for gifts, The Zoo Concept, Virgin Store, and I love By Symphony. For shopping I also love going to Ripe Market to check out all the cute stalls and pop ups.

Best Spa: The spa at the One and Only

Favorite Cultural Event: There are lots of great events in Dubai from Art Dubai, Sole DXB bringing street culture to the region in an awesome way & Fashion Forward for their fantastic organization.

Favorite Cultural Institution: The Trade Center during Comic Con, lol! Love it.

Best Steakhouse:  The Rib Room Emirates Towers

Best Pizza: Margarita on SZR

Best Gym/Athletic Facility:  BARE in Business Bay and Flywheel are both amazing.

Describe your city in three words:  Dubai is happening, fast paced, and dynamic.

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore:  I love going camping in Oman and I love taking friends to visit Al Quoz to explore all the art treasures.

All-around favorite spot in in your town:   A combination between Analog Room, Little Black Door and being outdoors for “Its Deep Like”.

Best Aspect of your town/city/region. I love that Dubai offers tons of opportunities, is diverse and is positioned perfectly for travel adventures to many close exotic destinations.